Winnipeg, MB: January 2, 2024 – Stories of loss, stories of courage, stories of triumph. The Manitoba Museum is proud to host a pop-up exhibition which shares the emotional and impactful stories of Southeast Asian refugees who came to Canada between 1975 and 1985, and the stories of those who assisted them.
Impacted by the Vietnam War, the Lao Secret War, and the Cambodian Genocide, millions of refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia were forced to flee their homelands and to seek safety in other countries. Hearts of Freedom: Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees tells the stories of these survivors, in their own words and through their unique perspectives, adding to the fabric of the Canadian history of immigration.
“At the Manitoba Museum, we strive to collect and tell the stories of all the peoples of our province. This is an important exhibition that shares the incredible history of the Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian people who escaped war and genocide to find a new home in Canada, and in Manitoba.” – Roland Sawatzky, Curator of History at the Manitoba Museum.
The exhibition, curated by Dr. Stephanie Phetsamay Stobbe and created in collaboration with the Hearts of Freedom Exhibition Committee, is comprised of a variety of panels detailing the stories of refugee journeys through photographs and shared memories captured in interviews. Each panel’s interpretive text gives the reader further insight into the paths and obstacles faced by those making the difficult and often dangerous expedition.
“This is the first museum exhibition in Canada that showcases the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian experiences in resettlement and settlement in Canada, and their successful integration. It also highlights the contributions they have made and continue to make in Canada and around the world.” – Stephanie Stobbe, Curator of HOF – Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees and Professor at Canadian Mennonite University.
Hearts of Freedom: Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees, will open to the public in the Manitoba Museum’s Festival Hall on January 5, 2024, with an official opening event on January 19. The exhibition will be on display until April 7, 2024.
About Hearts of Freedom
The exhibition was created by Dr. Stephanie Stobbe and the Hearts of Freedom Museum Exhibition Committee, in collaboration with Canadian Mennonite University, Carleton University, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Canadian Immigration Historical Society, the Vietnamese Canadian Federation, the Lao Association of Ottawa Valley, the Cambodian Association of Ottawa Valley, the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration, and the Manitoba Museum.
The Hearts of Freedom exhibition tour is funded in part by SSHRC and private funders.